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How to protect children from exposure to violence, terrorism

News Desk

The Jakarta Post

-  /  Sat, May 19, 2018  /  11:11 am
How to protect children from exposure to violence, terrorism

Children under five years old are most vulnerable to exposure from news on violence and terrorism. (Shutterstock/Boofoto)

A stream of news on terrorism has been part of our daily lives for the past few weeks. It is unavoidable as we need the information to help us stay alert and take safety precautions, but exposure to violence and terror can be harmful to young minds.

According to psychcentral.com, children, especially those under 5-years-old, are the most vulnerable to this kind of exposure. They cannot understand and become frightened.

Dr. Anita Gadhia-Smith, clinical social worker/therapist who is also the author of From Addiction to Recovery, shares a few tips as follows:

- Limit their TV exposure time.

- Encourage dialogue where they feel comfortable expressing their feelings and telling you what they are seeing and what their friends are talking about.

- Convince them that you are someone they can talk to when they are scared, and that they can talk to other people they trust.

- Give them space to build a bigger belief in themselves than fear.

- Help them to have faith so that they understand that there is something big in charge of us. It is not just the bad guys who are in charge.

The American Psychological Association as quoted by nytimes.com also recommends asking children how they feel about violent and terrorist-related news.

Anne Marie Albano, a clinical psychologist and director of the Columbia University Clinic for Anxiety and Related Disorders, says that terrorists want to see the population change their practices. They hope that we will be forced to change our ways.

Read also: How to spot and combat fake news

Dr. Albano went on to say that if we go out of our way to avoid interacting with strangers, to refuse to take mass transportation, it could stoke fear and anxiety in children.

Sean Rogers, a psychotherapist who works with children and teenagers also emphasizes the importance of listening to children. He told The Times on a Facebook live appearance that listening is curative, and that it is the basis of all therapies. (mut)